The Best of Russia Tour
We offer several
variations of this tour. This is a Golden Ring of Russia tour including
Moscow, the Golden Ring and
We also have tours available to:
- Moscow, The Golden Ring (5 days Friday-Saturday)
- Economy Tour of Russia (9 days Friday-Saturday)
- Comprehensive Tour of Russia (12 days. Begins in St. Petersburg rather than Moscow. Slightly less intense than this tour.
Attractions Days 1-6
These are links to detailed descriptions of the attractions visited on this tour.
Attractions Day 6-12
Included in this Golden Ring Tour
- Private Guide Each Day
- Private Transportation many days
- All Museum Admissions
- Sleeper Train to St. Petersburg Or SAPSAN High Speed Train (1 night extra hotel cost will apply)
- Air Transportation back to Moscow
- Many Other Features
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- Top price based on 2 persons
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You will love this unique tour of Moscow, Suzdal, Vladimir and St. Petersburg which combines the urban and provincial. Your tour will include a Sergiev Posad Excursion, tours of Suzdal, St. Petersburg, Peterhof, Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral, Catherine Palace, Alexander Palace, Nevsky Monastery, the Hermitage and many others.
The Best of Russia Tour - Moscow: Day 1
Arrive Moscow: Transfer From Moscow Airport To Hotel : You will be met by your driver at Moscow airport ( it is important to know which airport as there are 2 major international airports in Moscow. The principle Moscow airport code is SVO and the other Moscow airport code is DME).
Your driver will display a placard with your name. Your hotel in Moscow will be the Marco Polo (or Melody Hotel) , a small 4 star hotel close to the center of Moscow. This hotel is ideal for the western traveler. Depending on your arrival time, you may have time for a Moscow metro tour, Moskva River tour or other short excursion to help you orient yourself to Moscow. *
The Best of Russia Tour - Moscow: Day 2
Each day your guide will come to your hotel to meet you and begin your day of Moscow touring. Today all of your visits are in or near Red Square. As a result you will take the metro to Red Square and there will be no need for a car or driver. The first stop today is the famous Moscow Kremlin . We refer to it as the Moscow Kremlin since, as you will discover during your visit to Russia, that there are many Kremlins (fortresses) in the country. You will discover there are Kremlins in the Golden Ring, Novgorod and many other cities.
The Moscow Kremlin is the seat of Government of the Russian Federation. In addition to the Presidential Palace there are many other sites within the walls of the Kremlin. Some of these sites require additional tickets. After you have visited the Cathedral of the Assumption, where the czars were crowned, you will visit the Kremlin Armoury.
The Kremlin Armoury is one of those Kremlin sites which require a separate entrance ticket. (Included in your tour). Inside you will see the Czars possessions. This museum houses examples of the famous Faberge eggs, gowns worn by the Empresses of Russia including the amazing
After lunch, you will visit St. Basil's Cathedral which was built by Czar Ivan IV ( also known as The Terrible) in the 16th century. It is located in Red Square, next to the Kremlin. You will tour the Cathedral to better appreciate both the exterior and interior of this amazing structure.
Before you finish the day you will walk around Red Square, see the outside of Lenin's Tomb, the Gum Department store and many of the sites nearby including the Russian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Tonight you will enjoy a special treat!! You will see the Moscow Circus!!
The Moscow circus is a term which may be either of the permanent circus companies in Moscow. The "Old" Moscow circus is called the "Nikulkin" circus. The "New" Moscow circus is called "The Great Moscow State Circus"
The Best of Russia Tour - Moscow: Day 3
Today your guide will meet you at your hotel and your tour will include visits to many of the beautiful Moscow metro stations. The Moscow metro stations were built during the time of Stalin to prove to the west that Russia had become a modern country.
One of your subway stops will be to visit the Novodevichy Convent,or, the New Maiden Convent. This famous convent is a picturesque oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Peter The Great, imprisoned his sister Sophia there in an attempt to curtail her efforts to seat their brother Ivan on the Russian thrown. In more modern times, the cemetery near the Novodevichy Convent has become the final resting place of many famous Russians including Nikita Khrushchev, BorisYeltsen, Stalin's wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva-Stalin , Sergei Prokofiev composer, Dmitri Shostakovich composer.
Following your tour of Novodecvihy, you visit the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. This famous cathedral is a replica of the original Cathedral which was destroyed by the Communists during Soviet times. It has been rebuilt since the fall of the Soviet Union and it is truly spectacular.
We would like to encourage our guests, while on their Moscow tour to consider an evening at the Russian ballet. There are numerous Russian ballet companies and many beautiful Russian ballet theaters. Whether you are attracted to the idea of an evening at the Bolshoi theater or the Stanislavsky theater, you can not go wrong. We are happy to provide a list of the Russian ballet performances which will be performed during your stay. When you decide which ballet you want to attend, we will obtain your ballet tickets and have them ready for you when you arrive. This also applies to your visit to St. Petersburg in a few days. Here is an article on the Russian ballet from our blog.
The Best of Russia Tour - Moscow: Day 4
Built as a memorial to the 2nd World War, the Museum of the Great Patriotic War is a magnificent testimonial to an event which cost 25 million Soviet lives.
In addition to the awe inspiring mall, monuments and exhibits inside, there are also exhibits of equipment outside. Whether you are interested in military history or not, the scope of this tragedy and the effect it had on millions of survivors, makes this visit interesting to everyone.
Most of us are keenly aware of what a toll World War II had on our particular countries but few of us have any idea how the losses we suffered compare to those in the Soviet Union.
Next you will visit the home of, arguably, the most famous writer of all time, Leo Tolstoy. The Tolstoy Museum is actually the Moscow home of Leo Tolstoy. It was at this home that many of his famous lines were written for books like War and Peace and Anna Karinna.
The Best of Russia Tour - Moscow: Day 5
Today you say "goodbye" to the city and will exchange the hustle and bustle of a huge metropolitan area for the serenity and beauty of provincial Russia. From now until you board the train in Vladimir bound for St. Petersburg, you will have a private car and driver.
First you will visit Sergiev Posad and the Monastery of the Holy Trinity.
The beautiful St. Sergius is still a working monastery and the highlight is the special tour given by a staff member
. You will notice how beautiful and serene the monastery and convent are, even in modern times.
Lunch and dinner options, once away from Moscow, will be more like those chosen by Russian citizens. You will really enjoy some of the authentic Russia restaurants and bistros.
After your day in Sergiev Posad, you will begin your tour of the Golden Ring, a large area of towns and villages. Your first stop is Suzdal, one of the most interesting and beautiful of the villages of the Golden Ring.
Tonight you will stay in a charming hotel in Suzdal. The picture to the right is one of our favorites. To ensure that we can get the Pushkarskaya Sloboda or the Nikolaevsky Posad hotels for you..please book early. Click here to see the "log cabin" style rooms at the Pushkarskaya. These are a favorite part of the Russian holiday.
The Best of Russia Tour - Golden Ring: Day 6
Your guide will lead you on an interesting exploration of the ancient cathedrals of Russia and the quaint provincial Russian shops in Suzdal and Vladmir. Today, even more than in Sergiev Posad, you have the opportunity to see the "Real Russia".
Vladimir, once a capital of a mighty Russian principality, a present-day administrative centre of the region, noted for the splendid 12th century white stone monuments listed by UNESCO in the heritage list:
- The Golden Gates
- The church of St Demetrious
- The Assumption Cathedral
The tour of the city includes a driving tour and a visit to the Assumption Cathedral (1158)
After your visit to Suzdal and Vladimir you will be taken to board the overnight train to St. Petersburg. You will have a sleeping compartment for a nice rest on your way to St. Petersburg. Or SAPSAN High Speed Train (1 night extra hotel cost will apply) **
The Best of Russia Tour - St. Petersburg : Day 7
You will arrive in St. Petersburg, the "Venice of the North" at approximately 10 a.m.(if you elect to take the SAPSAN you will arrive approximately 10 pm on day 6) Waiting for you at the train station will be your St. Petersburg guide and driver. Following check in at your hotel you will begin your tour of this fantastic city.
You will start with a visit to St. Isaac's Cathedral. It sits majestically on the bank of the Neva River. St. Isaac's Cathedral has one of the tallest domes of all catholic cathedrals in the world. It is covered with 220 pounds of pure gold. It was commissioned by Alexander I in 1818 and took more than 30 years to build. St. Isaac's is followed by one of our clients favorite visits, the Yussupov ( U SUE POV) Palace & Rasputin Murder Tour. You are taken to the areas of the palace where Gregory Rasputin was lured and poisoned by wealthy friends of the last Czar. This fascinating palace is in the city center. The tour through the palace, which includes the main exposition (reception rooms of the Yusoupovs, 1st and 2nd level) plus the Theatre and the Rasputin exposition, will leave you speechless.
The Best of Russia Tour - St. Petersburg : Day 8
Today your St. Petersburg guide will meet you at your hotel and you will take the short walk to the Hydrofoil pier. The modern hydrofoil will take you to Peterhof. Peterhof is considered by many to be the Crown Jewel of sights in all of Russia. Built by Peter the I, the palace is Peterhof. Magnificent by itself, but combined with the gardens and the fountains, it truly is a wonder. Today, the Peterhof fountain ensemble consists of over 150 fountains and four cascades. The piping system occupies 54km. Much of the system remains in place as planned by Peter the Great.
In addition to the Palace and gardens you will visit some of the sights many visitors do not have time to visit. The first of these is the Czars bath house (known as a Banya) and the kitchens. You return to the city via the hydrofoil and make the sort walk to the Russian Museum. The Russian Museum is not a museum in the usual sense but an art museum which contains only the works of Russian artists. The collection in the museum will take your breath away. If you like paintings, these are among the best in the world.
The Best of Russia Tour - St. Petersburg : Day 9
This morning your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel to begin your journey to the Catherine Palace. The clients of RussianTourGuide.com universally consider this to be one of their favorite stops. The Catherine Palace is home of the world famous "Amber Room". The Amber Room has only been available for viewing in the last few years after the government spent many years of painstaking reconstruction. It is assumed that the original version of this amazing room was stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
The Catherine Palace is located in the village of Pushkin (named for the famous poet). The area is also called "Tzarskoe Selo" or "Village of the Czars".
The next area to visit in Pushkin will be the Alexander Palace. The Alexander Palace was built by Catherine the Great for her grandson, the future Alexander I. The palace was the last home for the doomed Romanov family, who included the famous Grand Duchess Anastasia. The museum in the Alexander Palace showcases the interiors as closely as possible to their state in August 1917 when the Romanovs lived there. The interiors appear as if the Tsar and his family have just left and might return at any moment. The tragedy of the story of the Romanovs and the intimacy of the private rooms creates a lasting impression on those who see them, creating sympathy for the Tsar and his family.
For children, this is an especially interesting tour. All western children have seen the Disney movie "Anastasia". "Anastasia" deals with the life and times of Grand Duchess Anastasia, the daughter of the last czar Nicholas II. Many of the private effects of Anastasia and her siblings are in the Alexander Palace. The Alexander Palace museum has proved to be one of the most popular museums in Russia and is a must see for all foreigners and tourists. Tonight you will be our guest at the wonderful Russian folk show, Feel Yourself Russian, held at the beautiful Nickailoevsky Palace. This program is a favorite of all of our clients.
The Best of Russia Tour - St. Petersburg : Day 10
Haystack at Giverny - Monet - Hermitage
For some, today's stops are the true reason to visit St. Petersburg. The Hermitage and the Winter Palace are the sites of many infamous moments in Russian history.
The precocious behavior of Catherine the Great, the death of Alexander II, the Sunday Massacre, and the speeches of Lenin to the citizens after the successful Revolution, all occurred just outside, on the balcony, or within the walls of these Russian landmarks.
You will have an opportunity to see the massive art collection belonging to Catherine the Great which is now housed in the Hermitage.
Just outside the Hermitage, in the middle of the square, you will see the monument to Alexander I honoring his defeat of the mighty Napoleon. (Did you know that following the defeat of Napoleon in Russia, Alexander I led his victorious troops all the way to Paris?)
Next you will visit the signature site on the skyline of St. Petersburg, the Church on the Spilled Blood. It was built as a memorial to Czar Alexander II on the site of his assassination. While the exterior of the Church on Spilled Blood is impressive, wait until you go inside! You will see the preserved sight of the bomb blast that fatally injured the Czar. Thousands of man hours in artistic restoration were expended to restore the mural covered walls.
Finally today you will enjoy a real treat, the RussianTourGuide.com Private River and Canal Tour. This tour covers the canals in St. Petersburg and the Neva River. Note: This tour is not the typical tourist canal boat tour offered on the streets of St. Petersburg. Rather it is a private tour by a Retro powerboat built by our very own Capt. Andrei.
You will cover a route twice as large as that covered by a regular tourist boat tour. You will enjoy the quiet of narrow canals and grand views of St. Petersburg's gala center from the Neva.
This is part of what makes this tour the BEST of Russia !
The Best of Russia Tour - St. Petersburg : Day 11
Today, your visits will interest the whole family but the first stop will be particularly exciting for the youngsters in your group. ( Please note: if you have no young people in your family we will adjust the itinerary.) This stop is the St. Petersburg Oceanarium, home to many different marine species.
Next stop is the Nevsky Monastery. Founded by Peter the Great, in 1710, this orthodox monastery is the most important in St. Petersburg. The St. Trinity cathedral is worth a visit and so is the cemetery, where you can visit the graves of Russia's great composers and writers, including Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Glinka and Dostoevsky. This cemetery is open until 7pm. You can buy fresh holy bread in the monastery's bakery in the afternoon (on your left as you approach the Trinity cathedral from the entrance).
Our final stop is the Russian Farmers' Market, so you can see where the locals shop for their meat and produce. This is an especially interesting slice of Russian life.
The Best of Russia Tour - St. Petersburg : Day 12
Goodbye! This morning you will be met by your driver who will take you to the St. Petersburg airport for your flight back to Moscow. We will purchase your airline tickets for this segment of your trip. Summary of the features of your tour:
- Personal guide each day.
- Car and driver (on the days specifically mentioned in the itinerary).
- All museum admissions.
- Hotel in Moscow " Hotel Marco Polo **** or similar.***
- Moscow Circus.
- Hotel in Suzdal – Pushkarskaya Sloboda Hotel or similar.***
- Hotel in St. Petersburg " Ermitage Hotel **** or similar. ***
- 2nd Class sleeper car accommodations from Vladimir to St. Petersburg.
- Feel Yourself Russian " Russian Folk Show in St. Petersburg.
- Private boat tour.
- Transfers from, and returning to, airports and train stations.
- Coach air tickets from St. Petersburg to Moscow.
- Visa enabling documents and complete assistance in obtaining your Russian tourist visas.
*These arrival activities are not included in the price as we will not know if time permits until your exact arrival details are known. **2nd class compartment – Train to St. Petersburg from Vladimir. ***With advance notice, these hotels will be used. Similar hotels will be used if these hotels are unavailable.
RussianTourGuide.Com is pleased to collaborate with numerous travel agents around the world.
If you would like our tour but prefer to work with your local agent, ask your local agent to contact us. We will be happy to collaborate with your local agent to make your travel planning "seamless"!
Contingency Planning: Working with an experienced tour company can offer unexpected benefits. Your guide has much experience with almost all situations which arise with tourists and can probably craft a solution for any contingency. Your guide also has phone access to support from our staff in the USA. If needed, she can contact us to assist you. While you travel in Russia we can facilitate services such as:
- Cash advance (for example in the case of a lost or stolen credit card).
- Foreign exchange.
- Provide Russian phones for your use while visiting.
- Medical facilities with English speaking physicians in St. Petersburg.
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